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10.12Static constructors


A static constructor is a member that implements the actions required to initialize a closed class type. Static constructors are declared using static-constructor-declarations:

static-constructor-declaration:
attributesopt static-constructor-modifiers identifier ( ) static-constructor-body


static-constructor-modifiers:
externopt static
static externopt


static-constructor-body:
block
;

A static-constructor-declaration may include a set of attributes (§17) and an extern modifier (§10.6.7).

The identifier of a static-constructor-declaration must name the class in which the static constructor is declared. If any other name is specified, a compile-time error occurs.

When a static constructor declaration includes an extern modifier, the static constructor is said to be an external static constructor. Because an external static constructor declaration provides no actual implementation, its static-constructor-body consists of a semicolon. For all other static constructor declarations, the static-constructor-body consists of a block which specifies the statements to execute in order to initialize the class. This corresponds exactly to the method-body of a static method with a void return type (§10.6.10).

Static constructors are not inherited, and cannot be called directly.

The static constructor for a closed class type executes at most once in a given application domain. The execution of a static constructor is triggered by the first of the following events to occur within an application domain:



  • An instance of the class type is created.

  • Any of the static members of the class type are referenced.

If a class contains the Main method (§3.1) in which execution begins, the static constructor for that class executes before the Main method is called.

To initialize a new closed class type, first a new set of static fields (§10.5.1) for that particular closed type is created. Each of the static fields is initialized to its default value (§5.2). Next, the static field initializers (§10.4.5.1) are executed for those static fields. Finally, the static constructor is executed.

The example

using System;

class Test
{
static void Main() {
A.F();
B.F();
}
}

class A
{


static A() {
Console.WriteLine("Init A");
}
public static void F() {
Console.WriteLine("A.F");
}
}

class B
{


static B() {
Console.WriteLine("Init B");
}
public static void F() {
Console.WriteLine("B.F");
}
}

must produce the output:

Init A
A.F
Init B
B.F

because the execution of A’s static constructor is triggered by the call to A.F, and the execution of B’s static constructor is triggered by the call to B.F.

It is possible to construct circular dependencies that allow static fields with variable initializers to be observed in their default value state.

The example

using System;

class A
{


public static int X;

static A() {


X = B.Y + 1;
}
}

class B
{


public static int Y = A.X + 1;

static B() {}

static void Main() {
Console.WriteLine("X = {0}, Y = {1}", A.X, B.Y);
}
}

produces the output

X = 1, Y = 2

To execute the Main method, the system first runs the initializer for B.Y, prior to class B’s static constructor. Y’s initializer causes A’s static constructor to be run because the value of A.X is referenced. The static constructor of A in turn proceeds to compute the value of X, and in doing so fetches the default value of Y, which is zero. A.X is thus initialized to 1. The process of running A’s static field initializers and static constructor then completes, returning to the calculation of the initial value of Y, the result of which becomes 2.

Because the static constructor is executed exactly once for each closed constructed class type, it is a convenient place to enforce run-time checks on the type parameter that cannot be checked at compile-time via constraints (§10.1.5). For example, the following type uses a static constructor to enforce that the type argument is an enum:

class Gen where T: struct


{
static Gen() {
if (!typeof(T).IsEnum) {
throw new ArgumentException("T must be an enum");
}
}
}

10.13Destructors


A destructor is a member that implements the actions required to destruct an instance of a class. A destructor is declared using a destructor-declaration:

destructor-declaration:
attributesopt externopt ~ identifier ( ) destructor-body


destructor-body:
block
;

A destructor-declaration may include a set of attributes (§17).

The identifier of a destructor-declarator must name the class in which the destructor is declared. If any other name is specified, a compile-time error occurs.

When a destructor declaration includes an extern modifier, the destructor is said to be an external destructor. Because an external destructor declaration provides no actual implementation, its destructor-body consists of a semicolon. For all other destructors, the destructor-body consists of a block which specifies the statements to execute in order to destruct an instance of the class. A destructor-body corresponds exactly to the method-body of an instance method with a void return type (§10.6.10).

Destructors are not inherited. Thus, a class has no destructors other than the one which may be declared in that class.

Since a destructor is required to have no parameters, it cannot be overloaded, so a class can have, at most, one destructor.

Destructors are invoked automatically, and cannot be invoked explicitly. An instance becomes eligible for destruction when it is no longer possible for any code to use that instance. Execution of the destructor for the instance may occur at any time after the instance becomes eligible for destruction. When an instance is destructed, the destructors in that instance’s inheritance chain are called, in order, from most derived to least derived. A destructor may be executed on any thread. For further discussion of the rules that govern when and how a destructor is executed, see §3.9.

The output of the example

using System;

class A
{


~A() {
Console.WriteLine("A's destructor");
}
}

class B: A


{
~B() {
Console.WriteLine("B's destructor");
}
}

class Test


{
static void Main() {
B b = new B();
b = null;
GC.Collect();
GC.WaitForPendingFinalizers();
}
}

is

B’s destructor


A’s destructor

since destructors in an inheritance chain are called in order, from most derived to least derived.

Destructors are implemented by overriding the virtual method Finalize on System.Object. C# programs are not permitted to override this method or call it (or overrides of it) directly. For instance, the program

class A
{


override protected void Finalize() {} // error

public void F() {


this.Finalize(); // error
}
}

contains two errors.

The compiler behaves as if this method, and overrides of it, do not exist at all. Thus, this program:

class A
{


void Finalize() {} // permitted
}

is valid, and the method shown hides System.Object’s Finalize method.

For a discussion of the behavior when an exception is thrown from a destructor, see §16.3.



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